Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Could this be the start of a clampdown on alternative media reporting?


Indymedia UK reports that two servers operated by its hosting service, Rackmedia, were seized by the FBI agents acting in England acting on behalf of U.S. authorities. Indymedia is an internationally famous, multilingual, alternative press forum for reporting and critiquing media events. Seizure of the two servers directly affected 20 websites operated by Indymedia in different countries around the world. the seizure happened two days ago and Indymedia has still not been given any reason

Rackspace issued the following press release a day after the subpoena (8 October): "In the present matter regarding Indymedia, Rackspace Managed Hosting, a U.S. based company with offices in London, is acting in compliance with a court order pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. Rackspace responded to a Commissioner’s subpoena, duly issued under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1782 in an investigation that did not arise in the United States. Rackspace is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international law enforcement authorities. The court prohibits Rackspace from commenting further on this matter."

Indymedia's press release dated 11 October (when they were finally provided with some reasons for the seizure)is a must-read: Swiss authorities claim they have "opened a criminal investigation into Indymedia coverage of the 2003 G8 Summit", while Italian authorities are investigating Italy Indymedia for possible "terrorist activities". The ramifications of this clampdown on alternative, leftist news reporting and commentary are enormous... and frightening.

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